Photo: ‘The Boys’
Back in the Saddle Without Missing a Beat
A popular theme over the course of the past year has been getting re-acclimated with the shows we last saw before the Pandemic changed everything. ‘The Boys’, the smash Amazon hit, is in that exact category with its second season having wrapped at the end of 2019 right before the world shut down for the first time.
The show is at times a difficult watch due to its graphic and gory nature, but has found itself successful due to its incredibly smart writing. Based on a graphic novel of the same name and produced by the magical team of Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen at their Point Grey Pictures, ‘The Boys’ is truly an original show unlike any other on TV. The story is set in a fictional but very well-developed universe where superheroes are real. A wild but amazing concept that gives way to a vast and complex world where questions are asked about the morals and ethics of being a real-life superhero comes into play. Things such as the fame they would experience as being bigger than our biggest stars and collateral damage in the way of property damage and bystander deaths are tackled throughout the series.
The show follows the lives of a team of normal non-super humans led by Karl Urban’s Billy Butcher who is dedicated to both exposing superheroes for the damage they cause and taking them down for the crimes they commit. Each member of the team, including Jack Quaid’s Hughie Campbell who’s the newest and most hesitant member of the team, has had their lives personally impacted by the “work” of the superheroes in the universe. This helps to make each character’s journey much more compelling as they fight to take down the supers who are held up as gods amongst us.
Season 3 picks up right at the conclusion of the 2nd season’s events where we saw the team fighting against the “supes” trying to do it outside the shadows now in a more legitimate manner by working directly with the government. A true testament to Eric Kripke, the show’s creator, and the rest of the writing staff’s talent and ability to evolve the storyline. With such a vast and interesting universe they are able to dive in and continue to develop layers and backstory for all of the different characters, supes included. They’ve been able to create what is in my opinion one of the most interesting and thought-provoking shows on “television.” While on its surface the show seems like a battle of the classic good versus evil with an amazing amount of action and blood and guts mixed in, the show is much deeper than that. It seeks to explain celebrity culture and our infatuation and obsession with our own version of these supes. How corporations and greed control American interest and any infractions or illegal dealings are dealt with a minor slap on the wrist.
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The central theme of the show really revolves around the idea of who could possibly police and keep these supes in order? Anthony Starr’s character, “Homelander”, a mashup of Captain America and Superman perfectly personifies this notion. As the blonde-haired and blue-eyed face of the super team referred to as “The Seven”, he is an invincible force able to kill and take whatever he wants and has never heard the word “no.” Homelander would find himself the perfect poster boy candidate for the modern-day Republican party.
‘The Boys’ – Roles of a Lifetime
One piece of ‘The Boys’ that constantly stands out to me is the impressive ability and diversity of its cast. As Homelander, Starr is really the essential villain for the series and plays the part perfectly. With his signature leading white man looks and selfish and abusive personality, he is the exact face and embodiment of everything wrong with the supes. On the other hand, the team of “The Boys” led by Karl Urban, features a unique group of people from all different ethnicities, backgrounds, and skill sets. Jack Quaid as Hughie is the exact opposite of both Homelander and Butcher, hesitant and terrified to take up the fight but knows something needs to be done. Butcher and the rest of his team are constantly supporting and helping Hughie to fight back and demonstrate to Hughie that not everyone has the same privilege and ease he has in his position.
As great as Starr is as Homelander, Urban is equally as amazing as Butcher, the foul-mouthed win at all costs leader of the team. With his own personal motivations quite clear on why he wants to destroy the supes, Urban seems to be having a genuine blast finally being able to show off his chops in the leading role and is able to really let loose and be free. In his past parts in ‘The Lord of the Rings’, ‘Dredd’ and ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ he wasn’t really able to show this comedic side of his abilities.
Originality, A Lost Art
The thing that constantly stands out about ‘The Boys’ is that it is an impressively original satire of literally everything in popular culture and America itself. The show is able to reverse the roles of the idea of superheroes whom we hold up on a pedestal as the ultimate bastions of good, but it is so much deeper than that. The writers are able to skewer the political system, the 24/7 cable news cycle, and America in one effortless swoop.
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It is at the same time equally depressing and hilarious when you watch an episode and realize that in oh so many ways we are completely powerless as a people. The show is not afraid to demonstrate and mock the ways that money and powerful corporations control every facet of industry and institutions within this country. It is a depressing thought, but the storyline is one rooted in hope and optimism that if you want to see something change, you need to be willing to fight for it. In the universe of ‘The Boys’ that means killing superheroes, but in our world, it’s through meaningful political change that we need to exercise our rights through our voices and voting.
The first three episodes of the third season of ‘The Boys’ are now streaming on Amazon Prime, and I encourage all to check out the smartest, funniest, and most gruesome show on TV at the moment.
Stars: Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Anthony Starr, Erin Moriarty | Based on the Comic Books by: Garth Ennis | Developed for Television By: Eric Kripke
By Mark Raymond
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Mark Raymond is a writer and screenwriter who believes himself to be the only person desiring to work in film who originated in New York and currently resides in Los Angeles. Mark was inspired to write from a young age and has always desired to connect and uplift others through his work, as those that motivated him did for him. Mark feels very strongly that the world could use a lot more positivity and optimism, and is therefore very aligned to the mission of The Hollywood Insider to not spread hate or gossip, but instead to build each other up and shine a positive light on anyone bold enough to put their heart and soul into a piece of art. In his writing, Mark aims to use his signature wit to highlight the severity of the more serious and pressing issues of our time, to shine a beacon of light through the darkness. A devoted ally to all, he seeks to inspire and use his platform to give a voice to the voiceless and let his readers know that while everything may not be great right now, one day it can and will be.